You’re playing with an entirely different team compared to a year ago. What do you think is the biggest difference between then and now? Which version of TSM do you think has been the strongest?
Dyrus: Back then it wasn’t as structured and Regi would carry the entire team on his back while running the organization. Now we have a structure and great players from other regions so we’re definitely stronger now.
What do you think of Amazing so far? What do you think he brings to the team that was lacking before?
Dyrus: Amazing brings high mechanical skill and more meta junglers to the table.
What was the biggest difference you noticed with the addition of Lustboy?
Dyrus: His mechanical skill was at the highest when he came here. He knows a lot about the Korean meta and brings his knowledge over.
Do you feel your playstyle has changed with the new roster?
Dyrus: Individually I do the same thing, just with different champions and more communication.
How is it adapting to new players? Is it hard to get synergy going?
Dyrus: It’s easy, I always get along with my teammates because I just love to play league of legends.
You have been the pillar through the swaps over the past year, and now remain as the only player that’s been on the team since season 2. Do you feel the current team is the strongest it’s ever been, or has the potential to be?
Dyrus: I feel like our strongest point was during the patch when Regi subbed. Now that the patch changes literally every day we have to learn to adapt quick, especially since most of the time before big matches the patches get changed and practice becomes limited.
What about yourself? How strong do you think you are now relative to the rest of NA top laners? The world? Do you feel you will continue improving?
Dyrus: I feel like I won’t ever be the best because I lack innovation. All I’m doing right now is trying to keep up with international top laners. As for NA the only real threats to me in lane are Balls and Ackerman. Everyone else is either the same as me or below.
How has it been with Locodoco so far?
Dyrus: Having locodoco on the team is like having 6 players instead of 5.
Do you expect to make worlds? Who do you feel are the strongest teams to represent NA, based on current strength?
Dyrus: I think it’s really rough for us this year with all the roster swaps and visas. We have a lower chance than usual but it also puts us in the corner which allows us to play with our backs against the wall. It’s really hard to say right now, C9 and LMQ seem to be the strongest with Curse right behind them.
What are your long term goals? Will you continue playing after season 4?
Dyrus: I’m just going with the flow, I’ve considered retiring because of the stress, but in the end I’m just going to stick with it until I’ve become bad enough at the game to not play competitively
You were off to a rough start this season. How do you handle slumping or ramping up? What keeps you focused?
Dyrus: Watching my own play and watching others play allows me to reset my mind and just copy again. I revert to older more comfortable champions when I forget how to play or I imagine how the lane should play out and what I can do in lane out of game.
C9 and TSM seem to have a storied history since last year, is there any real rivalry there, similar to with CLG, or is it different?
Dyrus: It’s different, there isn’t really a rivalry but it’s a battle for 1st place. Instead of a rival they’re kind of like your unwanted friend in the scene.
How do you feel about LMQ so far? Have they met or exceeded expectations?
Dyrus: They exceeded expectations, at the start of the season they were really bad. Now they’ve improved a lot and are pretty much better than most of the teams. I feel like they aren’t taking LCS seriously though so we’ll see.
About the author: Tim Kimbirk is an eSports Journalist and writer with Solomid. Stay up to date on the latest interviews and features by following on twitter: @CaymusNoL
Coming from Korea’s OGN league and jumping straight into competitive play in North America, I had a chance to sit down with Lustboy after defeating Evil Geniuses in his LCS debut with Team SoloMid.
Lustboy, how was your trip from Korea?
Lustboy: It was good. On the plane I thought about the game and about bot lane in general.
What is your favorite thing that’s happened so far while in the US?
How are you getting along with the team so far? Who do you think you are most alike?
Lustboy: We are all getting along well. I think me and Amazing have the most in common.
Playing with Wildturtle, what is the biggest thing that stands out to you in his play?
Lustboy: I like playing with Turtle because he has great mechanics and can out play the enemy adc reliably.
Do you think WildTurtle is the best AD Carry in NA?
How strong are you as a bot lane right now compared to how strong you could be?
Lustboy: We are very strong right now and we have a lot of room to continue growing and be even stronger.
How was your first LCS match? Was there a lot of pressure to perform? How do you feel about your performance?
Lustboy: It was good. We mostly played defensively because we knew we were playing for top lane. I felt like Krepo did not play as aggressively as he should have. There was no stress, but a lot of pressure coming into a team where you have high expectations to perform, especially when people already expect you to perform. I gave my best and feel like I did well, but I performed at about 30% of my potential.
Who do you want to face the most? Why?
Lustboy: I like playing against CLG because they have a very strong bot lane.
Do you feel you are the best bot lane in NA?
TSM now has 3 players that came from another region. What are your thoughts on regions importing talent?
Lustboy: I believe that except for EU, only top players are traded to other regions. I believe it is good for top talent to be able to move freely. That said, I think when an entire team transfers from one region to another, it makes cheering for them a little less genuine. Not to take away from any teams, all of them are just as hard working as the next and deserve to play and compete where they wish. I just don’t want it to become an issue of oversaturation of foreign talent to the point where a single region takes over the entire international scene.
Anything else you would like to say?
Lustboy: When I first arrived I was anxious and felt a lot of pressure. Once I saw how motivated the rest of the team was I started to feel more relaxed, and after the most recent games I feel like the weight has been lifted. I am ready to prove that I am a top player and will only get better.
About the author: Tim Kimbirk is an eSports Journalist and writer with Solomid. Stay up to date on the latest interviews and features by following on twitter: @CaymusNoL
Link to AMA.
Q: What is the biggest regret of your game career?
Q: How do you deal with anti-fans?
Q: How hard was it to let Xpecial go?
Reginald: Benching Xpecial was the second hardest decision I’ve ever made. After we decided to go with Gleeb, I reached out to curse to make sure that Xpecial had a team to go to. He is a great player and will do well on Curse.
Q: Was benching Chaox the hardest decision in your career?
Q: How is Gleeb doing in scrims and such? Does he match your expectations?
Reginald: I didn’t expect Gleeb to do well in scrims and I thought he was average solely because he was an amateur … (very similar to what everyone else is thinking) . Not only did he exceed my expectations , but the entire team’s expectations. He brings much more than just his play.
Q: What did you see in Gleeb that motivated you to pick him for TSM?
Reginald: Gleeb is hungry and he really wants to prove himself. He is motivated, productive and very vocal. If Gleeb can continue to do what hes doing, he would bring more to the team than anyone currently on it.
Q: How hard was it to bench TheRainMan?
To Clarify: Chaox, Xpecial, Oddone and I wanted to scrim and practice more, TRM wanted to solo queue. When we disagreed, TRM decided to step down.
Q: Were you surprised when Oddone decided to step down or had it been in the works for some time?
Reginald: I was extremely surprised. I had a meeting scheduled with him that day to talk about the split. It was the same day that we muted all of the streams where Bjergsen and Dyrus were crying on stream. I’m really happy that he wants to stay with the team and help me coach the team. Oddone stepping down was not planned.
Q: How much can you bench?
Q: Will you do more vlogs and content on TSM’s Youtube page with the team?
Q: Did you try to convince Oddone to stay as a pro when he decided to retire? Was that his solo decision or was it a team decision?
Q: Where do you see TSM placing in the summer split considering CLG/Dig/LMQ have turned this whole off season upside down?
Q: What is the average day in the life of Regibro?
I help the team with their rotations and overall strategy. ( Something we didn’t so well at) . I definitely want to look for a full time analyst though. It’ll help the team even more if we can have several people helping them.
I spend 16 hours a day enjoying myself because I love my job =D. If I was more efficient though, I could probably complete all of my tasks in 8 hours.
Q: How are scrims going for TSM?
Q: What is going on with Amazing right at the moment?
Q: Why was Gleeb chosen over Xpecial?
Q: What do you think of the “end of an era” response from fans?
Although it saddens me that our fans are unhappy with our decisions, TSM’s goal was always about winning worlds. Avoiding roster changes would only be a step in the wrong direction. Our goal seems very far fetched, but if we don’t try to improve … we’ll only fall further behind. For the most part, we only have roster changes when it is completely necessary . ;(
Q: Did you consider buying out Diamond from Gambit Gaming?
Reginald: Didn’t consider Diamond because he has a wife and if I had a wifey, I wouldn’t move to the US. 2) LMQ has good strategies and is really good at executing what they plan. I’m guessing they will be top 3-5
Q: What do you think about Dignitas’ buying out Shiphtur and ZionSpartan? Is fixing their solo lanes enough to get them to compete with the top 3 of Spring split?
Q: Do you follow your own instinct and analysis when making important team-related changes, or do you take your team’s thoughts into account first?
Reginald: I usually follow instinct on decisions that the team cannot decide on. I always ask the team for feedback before making any big decisions. As a team , its important that everyone is on the same page.
Q: How do you see All-Stars going this year? What do you think will happen with SKT being a slump and C9 not having Hai? Do you think OMG might sweep All-Stars if they surprise other teams with their playstyle?
Reginald: No Opinion of Allstars tbh. I don’t really care who wins, I’m just extremely excited to watch it. I hope SKT wins I’m a big fan of them. Losing Hai is huge for C9 because he’s their late game shot caller, Link is also much weaker than Hai.
Q: There has been a rumor about Krepo being one of the try-outs, was it all but a gossip or an actual thing? If so, how did he do?
Q: What are your thoughts on the current TSM roster, do you think that Amazing brings the needed shot-calling? Do you plan on working on TSM’s pick and ban phase?
Q: How do you truly feel towards CLG/HotshotGG, etc.?
How do you feel about the rivalry between pro teams now?
Reginald: Its not even a rivalry anymore sadly… It was a lot more fun when there was animosity and the fans were hyped about it. The pros are too afraid to trash talk because of the backlash from the community. Doublelift is the only player allowed to trash talk because everyone thinks hes actually joking.
Q: Why did you choose Gleeb over Daydreamin, Sheep, etc?
Daydreaming never impressed me besides his crazy blitzcrank.
Gleeb because he will motivate the team .
Q: Did you consider some other junglers from EU or just Amazing? And if yes who?
Q: What stood out in Gleeb out of all the other supports?
Q: What’s your coaching strategy with TheOddOne from here on out?
Q: With Bjergsen away for All-Stars are you worried that the lack of time to build team synergy will impact you further than just the roster changes?
Reginald: I am very worried that we will not have as much practice as needed for the split because of our new roster .. But lets be honest… season matches don’t really mean anything until playoffs unless we’re like last.
Q: Why pick Amazing over Nightblue3?
Amazing has LCS experience and its too soon to have 2 non LCS players =D.
If you have any questions for me, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo.
Link to AMA.
Q: Which LCS bot lane are you most looking forward to facing?
Q: What do you bring to the team that is unique to you?
Q: Who’s your favorite Support Champion?
Q: What weaknesses do you perceive in your gameplay?
Q: How did the team come to the decision to pick you?
TSM Gleeb: I’m not sure how the team came to the decision but our scrims went very well when I played with them. We won almost every scrim vs top LCS teams and had a lot of matches where we got 2v2 kills bot lane. We also all meshed together really well as a team. Thanks!
Q: Were these scrims with TheOddOne in the jungle, or Amazing?
Q: Can you give us some background on your LoL career?
TSM Gleeb: You can look at this page for a good summary: http://lol.gamepedia.com/Gleebglarbu
For more detail, I started playing league early in season 2. I climbed from placements to diamond by the end of the season and started playing on small amateur teams / go4lols etc. I did that for a while and then joined Denial/NiD and played with them until InnoX left and they disbanded. Afterwards I was on Crs Acad for a bit before leaving to join C9T. We tried to make LCS but didn’t and after that I tried out for TSM.
Q: What was the try-out process for joining TSM?
Q: How well do you feel you can play with Wildturtle?
Q: How do you plan on keeping Wildturtle entertained during boring matches?
Q: When are you going to change your Twitter picture so it accurately reflects your current haircut?
Q: Who do you think are the top 4 Supports in NA right now?
TSM Gleeb: Idk about top 4, it’s hard to order them. I think aphromoo overall is the best support in NA though. He is really mechanically sound, plays soloQ a lot, and has really good synergy with not just doublelift but all of his team.
Q: Which teams will be in the top 3 in NA next split, in your opinion?
Q: Did you plan on burning down TSM’s house or are you going to do it with Amazing?
Q: Who are your favourite Champions, standard and non-standard?
Q: When should i pick Gragas Support over other Supports?
TSM Gleeb: When you are vs weaker lanes and can make it past his laning phase. I feel like it is pretty weak vs thresh/morg atm which are really popular though which is why I haven’t been playing it as much.
Q: Do you feel more or less pressure stepping into one of the most well known teams in the world when there is less hype surrounding you than, say, Bjergsen?
Q: In an attempt to name the TSM botlane, do you prefer GleebTurtle, TurtleGlarb, WildGlarb, or anything else?
Q: Who are you closest with in the TSM family, at the moment?
Q: Are you more nervous or excited about the upcoming summer split?
Q: What do you think are your strengths and weaknesses as a Support?
Weaknesses are being too aggressive and not being patient enough with skill shots.
Q: Are you still in highschool or are you currently enrolled into college?
Q: Does your teacher call you Gleebglarb?
Q: What’s your opinion on Braum and will he be viable?
Q: Do you agree with what Loco said about you on Summoner Insight, that you’re a raw talent who’s “alright” in all aspects of the game except shot-calling, where you’re subpar?
TSM Gleeb: I think loco was pretty accurate, though I think the shot calling was more of a team issue on C9T with all of us often not being on the same page and not having solid rotations. I’d describe myself similarly to how Loco did, though I think he over exaggerated how long it will take me to become top tier. I don’t think it will take a whole split, especially since now I will be in a gaming house/out of high school so I can commit even more time to practicing.
Q: Were you interested in joining TSM or did they find you?
Q: How long did you scrim with TSM before you were told you’d be their new Support?
Q: Were you approached by other teams prior to TSM?
Q: Are you still going to be Gleebglarbu or can we call you Gleeb?
Q: How will you and Amazing work on improving TSM’s macro understanding of the game?
TSM Gleeb: I think we will all just have to work together as a team to improve macro strategy. Watching our own vods of scrims/LCS games as well as those of OGN/LCS/LPL should be very beneficial. When I was trying out, Bjergsen/myself/Turtle were the most vocal, though that will probably change when Amazing gets here because I have heard he is quite vocal as well.
Q: What do you think you have to currently work on as a Support in order to fill Xpecial’s shoes?
Q: Are you affected by the community shouting that you’re a downgrade for TSM?
TSM Gleeb: Mm, not really, I don’t care if the community thinks I am good or bad. The pressure is still there because if I don’t perform well it wouldn’t make sense to keep me on the roster. That being said, I just go day to day and focus on improving, worrying about things like that doesn’t really help.
Q: What do you think went wrong in C9T’s relegation matches against EG?
Q: Are you excited about your stream view count, now that you’re part of TSM?
Q: So who do you think is going to be the main shot caller for TSM?
Q: Were you pressured to remove the “glarbu” for marketing reasons?
Q: Which of the Support focused Champions are your favorites for premade team play (outside of solo queue), why?
Q: How do you handle being part of a team and then having that team disband even if you get a new job?
Q: What can you can provide for TSM that Xpecial couldn’t?
TSM Gleeb: Better/Positive team atmosphere. I don’t know what the team was like when practicing before I joined so I can’t comment on how Xpecial’s attitude was specifically, but from past experience on teams it is VERY detrimental having a player with a negative attitude and makes it hard for the team to improve as a whole, even if that player is individually doing very well.
Q: Are great individual mechanics equal to great duo synergy?
If you have any questions for me, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo.
We are sad to announce today that we are parting ways with Alex “Xpecial” Chu.
“Xpecial is an amazing player, but just because you have the best players on a team does not mean you have the best team. After we had the tryouts, I discussed it with the players and as a team, we decided that having a new support player would be better for the team. Xpecial is still a friend and it was very hard for me to have to let him go.” – Andy “Reginald” Dinh
Nicolas “Gleebglarbu” Haddad will be TSM’s new support player. Gleeb is currently ranked #34 on the NA Solo Queue Challenger ladder and was the support player for the Cloud 9 Tempest Challenger team.
One of the major reasons we chose Gleebglarbu for the role is his commitment and willingness to work harder than anyone else. Everyone on the team feels motivated when playing with him. Even though he’s a new player, we believe Gleebglarbu will help TSM become the world’s best.
The team was unanimous in their decision to pick Gleebglarbu. The tryouts for a new support included both him and Xpecial, after which Reginald went to Curse to trade Xpecial.
“After deciding on Gleeb as TSM’s new support, my one goal was to find a good home for Xpecial. I chose Curse because I believe Xpecial is an invaluable player and will make Curse stronger.” - Reginald
Xpecial willl be joining Curse as their new support player in the upcoming LCS Summer Split. We wish Xpecial the best of luck.
The new TSM starting roster will be as follows:
Marcus “Dyrus” Hill – Top Laner
Maurice “Amazing” Stückenschneider – Jungler
Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg – Mid Laner
Jason “WildTurtle” Tran – AD Carry
Nicolas “Gleebglarbu” Haddad – Support
Brian “TheOddOne” Wyllie – Coach
Andy “Reginald” Dinh – Coach
Rabia “NightBlue” Yazbek – Substitute
Patrick “MegaZero” Glinsman – Substitute
You can follow “Gleebglarbu” on:
Today, we are sad to announce that TSM TheOddOne has decided to step down from his starting position to focus more on a supportive role for the team as a coach for TSM. TheOddOne will continue to live with the team and help them improve.
“With our current roster, we can definitely be top 2 in North America, but I want TSM to be the best team in the world. I know that I don’t have the best mechanics, but I want to help TSM succeed and I will continue to be there to support them.” – Brian “TheOddOne” Wyllie
“OddOne is my friend and colleague and I’m really sad to see him retire. He has been playing since Beta and he is one of the first competitive League of Legends players. He is a crucial member of the team because of his years of experience and extensive game knowledge. I feel that he is the most qualified person to help TSM improve as a team.” – Andy “Reginald” Dinh
After discussing it as a team, we decided to have Maurice “Amazing” Stückenschneider, former Jungler for Copenhagen Wolves, come to North America to be our new Jungler. Maurice really stood out due to his competitive experience, incredible mechanics, and a varied champion pool. His performance was truly amazing during the EU LCS 2014 Spring Split.
Now, with TheOddOne and Reginald both coaching TSM, we are confident they can shape TSM into a world class team!
You can follow Amazing on:
You can follow TheOddOne on:
Tomorrow, Oddone will post a more detailed explanation on why he decided to retire.
Disclaimer: While I am a law student, I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.
Part of my own legal education has been the study of Professional Sports law (in the United States), so I decided to do a quick comparison of regulations and punishments between some of the major US sports organizations to Riot’s eSports organization.
In this article, I’m talking about professional League players in the eSports setting; not your everyday bronze scrub.
The Original Setup – Rules and Regulations in Physical Pro Sports
In the four major US sports (NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB), the rules and regulations are set up sort of like a corporate hierarchy: you have the Commissioner at the very top, who controls most aspects of the game itself – the schedule, regulating officials, league-based discipline, etc. The Commissioner’s power over the league and its teams is set forth through a League Constitution (similar to a corporation’s bylaws). However, these constitutions don’t directly dictate the relationship between teams and players – those are set up contractually.
In each of these sports league constitutions there is a clause called the “best interests of the game” clause. It basically gives the Commissioner the authority to do just about anything as long as the act is in the best interests of the game as a whole.
A New System? – Rules and Regulations in League of Legends
Unfortunately, Riot’s eSports regulation setup isn’t publicly available, and most professional player contracts have a non-disclosure clause. With the lack of available information, the best we can do is apply current sports law concepts and see how they fit onto Riot’s eSports infrastructure.
In League of Legends, the setup is very different from the club/league “franchise” arrangement most other professional sports use, but the outcome is essentially the same. Riot effectively takes on the role of “league commissioner,” exerting direct control over both the game and the teams simultaneously.
The biggest difference is that instead of holding “commissioner” power through a league constitution, Riot seems to be given that power contractually – teams sign lengthy contracts that give unilateral control over League events to Riot – which seems pretty obvious. If you want to play their game in their tournaments, you have to agree to play by their rules.
Ok, so instead of becoming a commissioner through a “league constitution,” Riot becomes a commissioner through individual contracts. Is that really any different? The answer is yes.
The Differences – Advantages and Disadvantages of Riot’s eSports Setup
Setting up commissioner power as contractual agreements has advantages and disadvantages. It’s advantageous to Riot on several practical levels:
First, Riot maintains a direct relationship with the players – as opposed to professional sports law, where only teams and owners are parties to the bylaws, and players have no direct relationship with the Commissioner. Second, individual contracts allow a large degree of flexibility – great for different teams in differing circumstances (e.g. foreign teams). Finally, Riot could distance themselves from principal-agent situations with teams/players, which has several benefits – not the least of which involves avoiding antitrust violations.
However, there are some legal disadvantages to having a contractual setup rather than a series of league bylaws. The first is that contractual damages are very limited. Harsh penalties designed to deter behavior don’t fly in contract law – if actual damages can’t be proven with certainty, Riot has no case. This poses a problem, for instance, with cheating – you want to punish cheaters even if cheating didn’t actually help them win, but a court will require you to prove that damage was done. This may explain why Riot caught several teams screenwatching last year, but only chose to penalize when they were certain it had an impact on the game.
A related disadvantage is the lack of a “best interests of the game” clause. In professional sports law, such clauses are kept extremely ambiguous on purpose, to meet whatever new situations can come up (e.g., dog fighting, gang-related signs… etc). It also allows for flexible discipline measures to be taken – commissioners can fine teams, revoke draft picks, or even force team ownership transfers outright.
But the ambiguity that makes the clause so valuable in a bylaw is also what makes the clause detrimental to contract law. Ambiguous words and phrases are difficult to enforce because it’s hard to tell if both parties really agreed to the same thing. (e.g., what exactly constitutes a “performance enhancing” drug? Is it limited to anabolic steroids? What about prescription medications such as Adderall? Energy drinks? Caffeine?). In some situations, courts can strike entire clauses from a contract for being too ambiguous – a pretty severe disadvantage.
Will we ever see any of these issues get raised in court? Probably not, as most teams and players are not in any position to negotiate or test any of the terms in their contracts. Their bargaining power is effectively nullified by the fact that Riot has a stranglehold on League of Legends – it is, after all, their game.
Follow me on Twitter @VCDragoon for updates!
The LCS is underway and the games are gettin‘ hot. Let’s take a look at the most influential game from June 12, the battle between Team Solo Mid and Cloud9. TSM came in as the number one seed, while C9 are the new hotshots on the block, having already tossed Dignitas aside by the start of this game. How do the new C9 strats match up versus old-guard TSM ones?
TSM Picks – Blue Side
Top – Renekton
Jungle – Elise
Mid – Orianna
ADC – Ezreal
Support – Sona
Cloud9 Picks – Red Side
Top – Kennen (Hai)
Jungle – Zac
Mid – Ryze (Balls)
ADC – Draven
Support – Lulu
This is where it all starts, the picks and bans screen. Objectively looking at a team comp can be a difficult feat, it requires knowledge of the individual characters and the ability to remain aware of the little details that can sometimes be forgotten. These are the areas that a team can excel in or… not. To make looking at comps a little bit easier: damage output (early- mid- and late-game), initiation, hard CC (stuns/suppression), soft CC (slows/silences), mixed damage, wave clear, push potential, gank potential, split-push potential, kite potential, and mobility are just a portion of what teams build around. TSM’s team comp is a traditionally balanced comp where most of those categories are partially filled out. Two sources of magic damage, two sources of physical and decent levels of CC. The team doesn’t really excel in anything but they have a little bit of everything- except possibly reliable ways to start fights. They have ways to set up Orianna‘s ball, but nothing along the lines of a Zac or Malphite initiation. This jack-of-all-trades team is designed to do anything. It’s heavily communication based and it leaves the enemy unable to predict what TSM can do.
Cloud9’s picks are pretty damn interesting. Hai went top lane as Kennen, instead of Balls; C9 isn’t afraid to mix up their traditional roles and if Hai is a the better Kennen, why not put him there – leaving Balls with the relatively simple Ryze. The C9 composition only has Draven for physical damage, but his damage is so bonkers that they rely on it, or the threat of it, to force TSM out of position. With Zac and Kennen able to rush the frontline and make initiating onto Ryze and Draven difficult, they work to protect the backline through aggressive action. It’s pretty neat when it works out, though it is weak to very heavy initiation, especially if there’s AoE to back it up. It’s important to note that TSM doesn’t have a way to reliably get on Draven. Everyone but Ezreal has a way to CC him, but if SneakyCastro has relatively safe positioning TSM is going to get burned before they can come close.
Laning for both sides was incredibly passive in terms of player engagement, but very active in pushing. The one person that couldn’t fall behind for C9 was Draven, so they sent him to 2v1 top to provide him with safe farm. If Draven did fall behind then a Runic Bulwark would neuter the damage output of C9 significantly. TSM had a similar situation; Orianna needed to get to here Athene’s before she could be as active as other mids. She has great scaling but needs to have a major item backing her up; by rotating and letting Regi farm multiple lanes he reached his Athene’s even faster. There wasn’t any real action until a short skirmish and over-aggression on both teams led to quick pick-offs. The resulting punishes that ended at a 1-1 trade stuck with both teams and left them roaming passively.
The mid-game was pretty balanced. TSM would lose a fight on their side of the map, then pick up a kill on Cloud9 a minute later in their jungle. C9 did manage to maintain a tower lead, but never by more than one, as both teams showed similar map presence and won an equal number of fights. This fight really shows the back and forth nature of the game, since Cloud9 had just won a battle, but TSM was prepared and ready to fight on. A lot of this stemmed back to that first engagement. Both teams knew that going over-aggressive in a 5v5 situation would result in quick picks and death, so instead of forcing fights both teams tried to play around quick picks. This sneaky and quick method of play led to both teams being terrified to go for the aggressive push. With good reason, since a Zac initiation over a wall could shutdown a TSM push, and an Elise initiation with the Orianna ball could do the same thing to Cloud9 at a turret. This passive gank style of play went back and forth for quite some time until Cloud9 was able to take control of the game with a post-Baron team fight. A Baron they didn’t get. How they won the fight is tied heavily into how Cloud 9 utilized their picks.
Cloud9’s Team Fight Strategy
Cloud9’s team fight strategy was pretty cool too see in action. It went like this: Zac and Kennen either initiating as a pair to win a quick fight, or stagger the AoE ults so the CC lasts longer rather than going for the heavy damage. If anyone squishy moves towards the backline they get blown up, and if Renekton or Elise go for the dive then C9 can kite them back and the rest of TSM couldn’t react. If TSM kites away then C9 can always just walk away from the fight, or use the high mobility of Zac and Kennen to land some more CC.
A good example of their planned fight is this fight that gave control of the game to C9. TSM was able to sneak Baron to near death, due to some poor positioning on Cloud9’s part, but with a quick response they were able to arrive… just in time for Baron to die. The followup fight shows the grinder that Cloud9 had formed. Reginald was funneled into it by a knockback, and afterwards you can see the rest of the TSM initiation failing to crack Cloud9. Watch the Elise dive, watch Renekton dive, TSM is helpless once the dive is initiated.
The game still remained fairly passive, but Cloud9 was able to pressure turrets down after securing a baron, and it wasn’t until this final fight that the action really went down.
What Could TSM Have Done?
A heavier initiation would have helped stop the pressure from Draven since he has no escapes, but overall TSM’s composition didn’t have a particularly strong focus. Fluid picks like TSM’s used to be the norm, where there might be a focus on some aspect but not anything as clearly planned out as Cloud9’s strategy. Having their “direct way to win a fight” and a decent battleplan would have led to crisp fights. Aside from that, they needed to play aggressively earlier. Since they couldn’t kill Draven early, being able to take out Kennen before his Zhonya’s would have been amazing, and the 20% attack speed boost from a rank one Ezreal Essence Flux would have let them shred towers to a fine confetti. They still could have won with a solid initiation later on in the game, but were reliant on less stable initiation that had the potential to be amazing, but was most likely not going to land well- aside from maybe an Elise Rappel with Orianna’s ball.
This is just the beginning however. Cloud9 is number one, but they’re going to have to stay innovative and maintain their unique style of picks to keep themselves unpredictable. It’s a good start though, and if this is just the beginning of the LCS’s unique team compositions then it’s going to get downright awesome. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave a message down below or message me on twitter @LeagueOfStudio)
-Christopher “Studio” Grant
Heya folks. North American LCS is here and it’s time to take a look at the big dogs. There might be eight teams in the brackets, but the real competition during the Spring Split’s regular season was Curse and TSM riding the high life. What’s their Summer Split life looking like?
Top – Dyrus
Jungle – TheOddOne
Mid – Reginald
ADC - WildTurtle
Support – Xpecial
Team Solo Mid has been the North American rock for quite some time. Regardless of the many heated debates on TSM’s skill, Baylife has brought damn good results in North America for years. The last LAN without foreign teams that TSM participated in and didn’t take first place was IPL 3 in October of 2011. It’s a bit different when the team goes international, but the LCS of North America isn’t really the place to look at foreign results (that’s for World Playoffs, which are quite a ways off).
While TSM did take first last season, it wasn’t a clean sweep, and their results rarely are. Early on in the season TSM lagged behind both Curse and Dignitas, boasting a 7-4 record at the end of week four, compared to Curse’s 9-2 and Dig’s 10-2. They never had a bad week however, and that showed as the season progressed and both Curse and Dig slipped, while TSM remained steady and ended with a solid two win lead for first place. It’s the consistency that makes TSM likely to be a top two finisher, if not number one.
In terms of actual gameplay there are a ridiculous amount of shots fired at TSM over Reginald being overaggressive, but the reality is that most of the jokes and criticisms tend to happen because TSM is a team shining in the spotlight. They’re not perfect though, as no team is. TSM has to make sure they’re prepared for each game and to constantly respect the level of play their opponents are at. At the start of the Spring Season TSM seemed unprepared for some of the new S3 strategies and this lack of preparation also cost them matches at MLG Anaheim- which led to Chaox being cut from the team. Chaox being cut is important though, it shows that the team is willing to adapt. Cutting a member is tough, but if Chaox was costing them games and causing more drama than Gamecribs could handle, severing his connection to the team is important and justified. They take their game seriously.
What does this mean for the Summer Split? They are consistent, and that consistency can lead to safer predictions for them taking first place, but at the same time being consistently good, but not great, can have its drawbacks. This isn’t as big a deal for the season itself, since the ten week cycle is about the week to week persistence over flashes of brilliance, but the playoffs are going to be TSM’s weak point. While they were able to cinch number one in the Spring Split, the results show that they’re not far from losing a set. Losing a set in Summer Split’s playoffs will be huge, as it could cost them a spot in the World Playoffs. They beat Vulcun 2-1, and Team Coast 3-2, every game went to its final match. These final matches show how the North American scene as a whole has improved and even “weaker” North American teams are a major threat; TSM will have to remain focused on staying relevant with their strategies. The week where they underestimate their opponents will be the never before seen bad week for TSM.
Top - Voyboy
Jungle – SaintVicious
Mid – Ny Jacky
ADC - Cop
Support - Edward
Curse Gaming used to follow in the footsteps of TSM by being a fairly steady rock, but with bigger falls compared to TSM. However the inclusion of Edward, formerly of Gambit Gaming, onto the team has shut down those predictions and Curse is a bit of a wildcard with their new European blood. Their botlane is going to be naturally different now that Elementz’s small shoes are being filled by Edward, but knowing how big the change will be is hard to predict.
Cop has been heavily criticized as being a passive AD, focused more on playing safe and farming rather than going for aggressive actions. In tournament play throughout Season 3 this was most certainly the case. However a lot of that playstyle rested on his cohesion with Elementz, and as the dissent between Elementz and the rest of the team grew, that began to falter. Cop has shown his ability to kill dudes in solo queue and if Edward is there going aggressive and landing hooks left and right he will be there to follow up, but will he be able to keep pace with Edward?
That is the (potentially) million dollar question. Can Edward work with the rest of Curse? Back when he was known as GosuPepper and as a huge troll, his aggressive personality made him one of the most disliked League of Legends pros. To put it bluntly, Gosu was a pretty big jackass on stream, and that personality might stick with him off stream. Factor in that Edward had issues with Genja and it hasn’t been revealed who caused the conflict between Edward and Gambit Gaming’s shotcaller, and a possible recipe for disaster might be brewing on Curse. Cop, Voyboy, and NY Jacky all have fairly passive personalities in relation to SaintVicious’ aggressive nature, and Edward breaks that mold solidly. The team respects each other right now, but will they be able to handle each other a week from now? At playoffs? There is going to be early steam going forward since the team hasn’t had time to learn to hate Edward, but the road for Curse looks unsteady in an emotional sense.
That tends to be the Achilles Heel of Curse. Unlike other teams that tend to fall behind and have difficulty recovering with their play, Curse has a nasty habit of having difficulty with a member and stirring up drama. In Season 2 a lot of the blame was dedicated at Westrice, and Westrice downward spiralled into more losses as the hate grew. In January they had major issues with Jacky prior to the Season 3 qualifiers, but Curse was able to whip him back into shape. In April there was the Elementz debacle and he ended up leaving the team after underperforming. Since Curse tends to be very public with their statements, this leads to situations where there are upvoted Reddit threads stating whether a player should quit or stay. While most players have learned to ignore Reddit’s opinions on players, in tense situations the public hate can be a breaking point. They’ve shown with Jacky that they can recover from their hate cycle, at the same time it’s not the norm and it’s with Edward’s personality it’s very likely if the bad blood gets in the way of games it won’t dissipate.
What does this mean for the Summer Split? No one knows how the botlane will play out. North America is known for its AD carries moreso than other roles, so Edward may not be able to pull off some of his normal 1v2 bullying. Sona is getting nerfed and Thresh needs to be banned or picked versus Edward, so his naturally aggressive champion pool is going to be a little smaller than Curse would like it to be. At the same time, Edward might just kill everybody, ever. If Curse does well and doesn’t have an extended period of losses (more than a week) they’re not likely to fall into Curse drama and the team will have a strong grip in the top three. On the other hand if they fail for an extended amount of time the team might collapse and eventually SaintVicious will drunkenly threaten to replace Edward with L0cust. It’s anyone’s guess at this point.
For the other teams, check out these articles on Cloud9 and Velocity, Team Coast and CLG, and Dignitas and Vulcun. For are any questions or comments, feel free to contact the author Twitter (@LeagueOfStudio) or leave a comment below.
-Christopher “Studio” Grant